1. Sapa O’Chau Cafe
This café lied on popular Thac Bac street is owned by Sapa O’Chau Travel Social Enterprise, an NGO dedicated to providing education and employment opportunities for minority tribespeople in the neighborhood. The taste of coffee is especially inviting on a cold Sapa morning and they have Western breakfast menu items to go with such as pancakes, fish and chips. For something more typical, the ginger tea sweetened with Sapa mountain honey – you will feel yourself come back here time and time again during your stay.
2. Cong Caphe
Cong Caphe is a popular cafe chain that has been taking Vietnam by storm, with multiple outlets in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and now even Sapa. Decorated in a rustic manner with military-style decor and dim lights that create a mellow ambiance, it is described as “slightly hipster” by locals and even more so by foreigners.
Sit inside or outside, depending on the weather, order yourself a hot coffee or an iced coconut coffee (a popular favorite!) and kill a couple of hours here. It’s a great spot to take a break after exploring the town. Do expect a bit of construction going on here and there as the location is relatively new.
3. Peter’s Coffee Corner
Located in a quiet backstreet with stunning views of the mountains and a menu serving awesome Vietnamese coffee (apparently, that’s the norm here), Peter’s Coffee Corner is not only a coffee corner, but also a social project where a big chunk of the profits go towards supporting minority kids from the region with free English classes.
Don’t expect a fancy place as it resembles more of a worn down wooden shack from the outside, but it’s quite special. If you have time to spare, you can even volunteer to be a teacher for a class or two – it would mean a lot to the kids and it will be a great memory to take home.
4. Café in the Clouds
Come for the drinks, but stay for the view! Café in the Clouds is more popular for its views than its menu – you’ll enjoy your drink and meal on the terrace amidst a beautiful backdrop of valleys and mountains, unwind by building work. The hot cocoa is perfect for a cold Sapa morning, as is the chicken phở to go with. All meals come in big portions and are worth the price you pay, plus you will get a complimentary banana during the banana season as the owners grow their own!
5. Nature View
Nature View is an optimal spot if you want premium value for your money, and this cafe/restaurant is really better for an evening coffee (if you do that) because of the splendid mountainous sunset views. There’s a fire inside for colder days if you do not wish to sit on the patio, and the menu serves both, international and regional grub. Nature View has a romantic layout and is the perfect place to have a peaceful night with your significant other as you dine above the clouds. It’s open 24 hours so feel free to spend your day there.
6. Le Gecko
This ancient French place consists of four things – a hotel, a cafe, a restaurant, and at night turns into a bar. There’s a great balcony outside with comfortable wooden chairs on which you can enjoy a nice cuppa as you bask in the view of Fansipan mountain, the highest peak of Indochina, right in front of you. They even offer Italy’s favorite coffee in here, Lavazza, and a cup of this goes great with the “nama chocolate,” a favorite among patrons that goes for only 10,000 Vietnamese Dong ($0.44) a piece.
7. Baguette & Chocolat Cafe
A little way away from the hustle and bustle of central Sapa, Baguette & Chocolat is found up a long staircase right off the street of Thac Bac. The cafe is located in a beautiful red and white French colonial style building, and before entering you have to take your shoes off, as it also serves as a home for travelers and the host family.
The cafe itself is a project managed by two NGOs, Sa Pa People’s Committee and Samaritan’s Purse of Canada, supporting disadvantaged and disabled tribal youth looking for roles in the tourism and hospitality industry. Be patient with the service as their English may not be the best. The menu is filled with French delights such as pastries, cakes and chocolate and you can enjoy these on the terrace outside. Perhaps the lazy kitten will come and ask you for a belly rub. Don’t feed it any chocolate though.
8. Viet Emotion Restaurant
How about some radio?
What a very warm and extensive venue spanning three floors Viet Emotion! Each floor with a terrace, and so is a great place to enjoy the mild Sapa sun outside or stay inside, under the traditional patterns by the fireplace on cold mountain nights. There are two computers inside connected to the internet available for use– order yourself a cup of hot ginger and lemongrass tea and catch your family and loved ones up on your latest adventures.